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Getting Adult Cats Declawed
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Sara6Cats posted:
A little background - we have 2 house cats that have been indoor cats only for about 2 1/2 years - one is a 4 year old neutered male (who we've had since his birth) who we had to bring inside after he had his toe amputated and we wanted to prevent infection - the other is a 2 1/2 year old spayed female who we kept inside after we got her at 9 months old to prevent her from getting pregnant - we now have a 1 year old son who loves his kitties - but since he's been crawling and now walking he loves to lay on the cats and "play" with them - which makes for lots of little scratches and unhappy cats! So we have scheduled an appointment to get both of them declawed - front paws only I guess - just wondering what the risks/benefits are to getting them declawed at their age - I have always heard that getting older cats declawed will change their behaviors and such - and the only pro I see from it is preventing my son from getting clawed up even more (which probably far outweighs any risks to the cats!) So just looking for some advice I guess!
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sparx831 responded:
I've heard that when it comes to getting a cat declawed, it's best to get it done as young as possible; the older your cat is the more traumatic the procedure could be.

When you're cat's come home they're going to need to use special kitty litter that won't get stuck in the wounds and cause infections. There's a good brand called Yesterday's News that made from recylced news print that a lot of vets recommend. I've also heard that you can use unpopped popcorn seeds.

You vet can also supply you with pain medication to aide you in making your kitties feel more comfortable post-procedure.

Good luck!
 
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inocuo responded:
It probably would depend on the cat itself whether or not it would affect their personality. I think a cat that likes to climb things with their nails would have to adjust to the change and would possibly make jumps they can no longer succeed in making a few times but I have lived with cats that were declawed and never saw a personality change in them. I know I am opposed to declawing because the procedure itself leaves the cat defenseless (especially if they sneak outside again- my parents 2 declawed cats got mauled and killed by a neighbors dogs when I was younger and I swore never to declaw any cat I have) and can be painful past the usual healing period if it is done incorrectly because of nerve damage. It is illegal in most of Europe because they consider it cruel. Pretty much, they remove the whole first knuckle. Now, with that said, I understand why people do it and would rather see a cat declawed and kept indoors after than sent to a shelter unwanted. One alternative option is to check into soft paws which are little caps that you glue over the nails so they cant scratch. They do have to be replaced though when the cat sheds their nail. You can even get them in different colors so the nails look painted. Another thing you can try is behavior modification techniques when they do swat- although if the child instigates, you dont really want to blame the cats. I use a squirt bottle and spray their body (or in their general direction)not their face and they catch on fast...I think I only had to squirt once then after that- just aiming the bottle towards them registered that they were displaying unwanted behaviors. Also, if you do get them declawed- make sure you dont use clay or gravel type litters- yesterdays news litter is pretty good, as you do not want the litter to cake to their claws and cause an infection. I actually stuck with the litter for my cats after one had a nail injury that got infected because both cats are asthsmatic and it has no dust like the scoopable did. Hope everything works out for you, your son and your kitties!
 
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Sara6Cats responded:
I would normally be opposed to declawing as well, but when it comes down to their claws or my son's eyes, the eyes win out. Our vet does laser surgery to remove the claws which is supposed to be more comfortable for the cats. We've tried the squirt bottle technique for other behaviors (climbing on counters, scratching furniture) and it turns out they like it - they normally try to catch it in their mouth - so that's out - and I know my son will outgrow attacking the cats, but what happens when we have more children? So off to the vet we'll go on Wednesday - and I know all about the yesterday's news litter - we had to use it when our cat had his toe amputated so we're familiar with it, and I'll pick some up at Wal-mart after I drop the cats off! Hopefully it all goes well!
 
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mandy_moo responded:
When my parents had our cat declawed, they had her in casts up to or maybe past her elbows (and yes, they only declawed her front paws, not the back). For a few days--I think only for as long as she had the casts--she was REALLY mad at us. She'd go hide out and glare at us from her hiding place. Poor kitty. LOL. But I think our cat was probably at least 7 when we had her declawed and aside from her temporary anger at us while in casts, she was back to her normal self fairly soon after.

By the way, I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage... I have had two myself.
 
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healthy_ responded:
It is cruel to get cats declawed.

It is extremely painful for them and often leads to acting out behaviors such as inappropriate urination.

If the cat somehow gets outside - inevitably they will- they are defenseless.

I ask you to please, please reconsider.

It is better to get them adopted elsewhere, or separate them physically from your child until he or she is old enough to protect herself, than to submit this kind of torture on animals.

I believe that in the future our ancestors will look upon us with horror at how we treated our loyal and loving companions in life, and how little we protected them.

Another thing you may want to try is a product by Feliway that is available at pet stores such as PetSmart. They have a plug-in that releases a pherimone that relaxes cats and is proven to minimize negative behaviors.

But if this does not work, please reconsider and have some empathy for the poor animals under your care.
 
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larsstarscanary responded:
I understand how you don't want your son injured in any way. Is it possible to keep the cat in another room/area/floor of the house?

Some cats tolerate children in a more docile manner than others. I saw on the news (or on youtube) about a cat that stayed under the fitful feet of a reclined baby and would not move away or hurt the baby.

This is what I've heard about the "declawing" of cats. It is my understanding that some become biters after declawing, which is the removal of the first joint. That removal makes the cats off-balance, which is why some cats fall from windows. I also read or was told that some cats develop emotional distress/psychiatric disorders after declawing. It is also my understanding that cats don't respond to pain medication and that they scream unconscious for a long time in the recovery room after that surgery. I hope I'm wrong about that--I hope there has been a discovery since I last knew.

A friend of mine successfully used nail caps. (Hers was a cat formerly owned by a homeless man. She had the cat for 2 years. From having lived in harsh circumstance, the cat had bronchitis and later died of cancer--I don't remember what kind of cancer, but I digress).

(An aside: My beautiful, sweet Himalayan woke me up when I did not hear my CO detector alarm go off. It turned out that it needed new batteries.)
 
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arametta127 responded:
I am looking to declaw my 2 1/2 yr old cat for several reasons. I have been researching the procedure and potential complications and came upon your post. I was wondering if you went ahead with the declawing of your 2 cats, and if so, how was the outcome? I would love to hear from you about the surgery and your feelings on it, including if you would choose to go ahead with the surgery again if you were given the choice.

Thank you for your time.
 
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
Because declawing is an elective and potentially painful procedure, many people are against it. However, it truly can be a lifesaving procedure too. In you case, you might be able to confine the cats away from your son during prolonged periods during the day so that they will be a little more tolerant of him when he is around. It is also important when there are children and pets in the same household to ALWAYS supervise them when they are together, as much to protect the pet as the child.

With that said, if you do decide to declaw the cats, the most significant concern to the cat is long term pain, so pain management is improtant. A few will become aversed of the litterbox because the litter hurts the feet. People often talk about declawed cats biting more often but careful studies have shown that not to be true. The cat was mean to start with and actually had bitten as much before surgery but now the scratching had stopped so the owners were noticing the biting instead.

It is always best to avoid declawing if at all possible, but in a few cases it actually can be a life saving procedure and can allow the pet to remain in a loving home.
 
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misty113 responded:
In my opinion your child should be taught to leave the cat's be. Cat's are not domesticated animals and children should learn to respect animals not lay on them. I know your son is young but the younger you start to teach him the better
 
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misty113 replied to Sara6Cats's response:
Train your kid. You are the adult and your children need taught to respect the animals you have. If you cannot train your child then you dont need the animals.
 
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Starlight2303 replied to misty113's response:
Those who think others of being bad pet owners because they don't "train" their children how to act appropriately are obviously ignorant about the development and mental capacities of children. Although highly intelligent and able to take in as much as they do at such a young age, a persons frontal lobe is not fully developed until their twenties. This can explain why teens do some of the stupid things that they do, and why young children who may have been taught to "know better" literally cannot help themselves when they do what they have been taught not to do. I also agree that children and animals need to be supervise at all times to keep all safe. I am not an advocate for declawing but if it is going to keep a cap in good home instead of a shelter that will euthanize it when they cannot adopt it out. Our local shelter sadly euthanized over 200 cats just last year because they are so overrun. So if declawing is the last resort before going to a shelter, I am for it.
 
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rohvannyn replied to Starlight2303's response:
I have to say that I would rather see a cat declawed than dead. About the prefrontal lobe development, I'm not sure I buy that. If young children cannot control their impulses, then why did I learn "don't do that, it hurts the kitty" before I was two? Just a thought. I'm not an abberation either. I know plenty of little kids who don't pull tails or get scratched.


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